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While searching for fellowing enlistees on June 29th I found John Casey - Nail Cutter. He is listed as dying as a prisoner on October 29, 1864 at Salisbury, North Carolina. This made no sense to me because why would he be a prisoner in the south? So I looked him up in ancestry.com and I found that someone had listed him as deserting in May of 1862 and rejoining on October 1, 1863. But that didn't last but four days and he had deserted again on October 5, 1863. A few months later on December 15, 1863, he rejoined. He stayed until April, 1864 and was admitted in Chimbarozo Hospital for Shell Shock on May 11, 1864 and died October 29, 1864 at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina.
This lead me to look up Salisbury Prison. You can find information at salisburyprison.org/Prisonhistory.htm.
North Carolina seceded from the union on May 20, 1861. The powers that be knew that there would be a need for a prison for the prisoners of war and they found an empty cotton factory which was located near the railroad tracts in Salisbury, North Carolina. There were 120 prisoners of war at the Salisbury prison camp by the end of 1861 and in six months there were 1,200 prisoners at Salisbury. According to the article I read that the prison population was compiled of northern soldiers, but quickly became a place for disloyal confederates, deserters, confederate criminals and civilians. And with the exchange of prisoner policy being terminated and transfers from other prison in 1864 the prison population exploded. In October of 1864 there were 5,000 prisoners and by November there were 10,000. This was a prison that was designed to house 2,500 men. And not only that, but the Union Naval blockade caused a shortage of medicine, supplies and food. One can only imagine the horrors. Before October of 1864 the death rate had been only 2%. After October, it increased to 28%. There were mass burials every day. The bodies were collected, taken to a dead house for counting and then loaded on a wagon. At 2:00 p,m, the bodies would be taken to a cornfield and buried in a mass grave.
Now I don't know the real reason for John Casey being at Salisbury except for speculation that he tried to desert again. Nor do I know if he is one of the five thousand men buried there. It is just another sad tale of war that may never be finished.
The Salisbury National Cemetery was established in 1870 as a memorial to those who died there.
While reading about the cemetery I also went back to Chimbarazo site and found the web site below. I found the newspaper articles extremely interesting.
PENNSYLVANIA AT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA. Ceremonies At the Dedication of the Memorial Erected By the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania In the National Cemetery at Salisbury, North Carolina. IN MEMORY OF THE SOLDIERS OF PENNSYLVANIA WHO PERISHED IN THE CONFEDERATE PRISON AT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA 1864 AND 1865
Salisbury: Civil War Death Camp in North Carolina
Pennsylvania at Salisbury, North Carolina: Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Memorial Erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the National Cemetery at Salisbury, North Carolina In Memory of the Soldiers of Pennsylvania who Perished in the Confederate Prison at Salisbury, North Carolina, 1864 and 1865